Gove urges Tory MPs to back May’s Brexit plan as backlash builds


Michael Gove has urged Eurosceptic Conservative MPs to rally behind Theresa May as she prepares to face down her backbench critics in person before publishing a white paper on leaving the EU. The environment secretary, a leading Brexiter, said the deal the prime minister achieved at Chequers was not everything he had hoped for but insisted the cabinet was behind it and collective responsibility would prevail.

“Those of us who believe that we want to execute a proper Brexit, and one that is the best deal for Britain, have an opportunity now to get behind the prime minister in order to negotiate that deal,” he said. The prime minister is facing an angry backlash from Brexit-supporting MPs when she addresses the House of Commons on Monday, before a meeting of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, in an attempt to get them behind the plans.

Since Friday, several more Conservative MPs were said to have added their names to a list supporting a vote of no confidence, although No 10 insiders have indicated May would fight any challenge and the numbers looked to be in her favour. Boris Johnson, a leading critic of the plans, spent several minutes at the Chequers summit spelling out his concerns, saying anybody defending the deal would be “polishing a turd” if they tried then to sell it to the party and the public.(theguardian)…[+]